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Milwaukee, WI criminal defense attorney for DNA testing Milwaukee, WI criminal defense attorney for DNA testing

By Raymond Dall’Osto and Jason Luczak

Today in America, we are regularly presented with headlines, promotions, and offers on digital and other media that tell us that by submitting a DNA sample (spit into small bottle and mail it in), this will provide a great way to connect generations, build a family tree, and find out more than just the place you’re from through Ancestry DNA and Ancestry Health. A different well-known firm, 23andme, offers equivalent services through its DNA Ancestry + Traits and Health + Ancestry. 

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Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, false positive identificationsInside a courtroom, and to a jury, a DNA sample almost always seals the case against an alleged criminal; it would seem appropriate, considering how the odds of a false identification is lower than one in 10 million. But real and valid cases of DNA contamination - from the “trace” DNA samples that can be transferred by a mere handshake, to a single intact sperm inadvertently finding its way onto a slide containing a woman’s vaginal secretions – suggest that our reliance on DNA evidence has become more than slightly concerning.

DNA Evidence – Then and Now

When DNA analysis first emerged, a decent amount of evidence was needed to extract just a partial profile (think a blood stain the size of a quarter). But, as modern science has improved, the sample of DNA needed to supply incriminating evidence has decreased exponentially. Today, an entire profile can be created with a sample the size of a pinhead. Unfortunately, that improvement has come at a price; and quite often that price is the wrongful conviction of an innocent person.

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Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, defendant rightsBeginning in 1986, human DNA testing began to revolutionize the criminal justice system by providing law enforcement and the courts with far better identification evidence by which to prove either the innocence or guilt of a suspect. However, DNA evidence and matches are not infallible; and a recent study suggests that we must, once again, consider just how valid such evidence against an individual may be. Touch DNA Sensitivity Today DNA is found within every chromosome and cell of our bodies. It can also be transferred from skin to a surface; this is known as “touch DNA.”  Pulled from everything from guns to doorknobs, touch DNA is one of the most widely used forms of DNA evidence in criminal investigations. Initially, large samples were needed for testing, but technology has advanced so much that now we only need a small trace. This has both pros and cons. On the positive side, we can detect the presence of human DNA much more easily. On the negative side — as highlighted by the recent stud y— sampling may actually pick up traces of DNA through second person transfer and the risk of contamination and false match is greater. All It Takes Is a Handshake Two graduate students from the University of Indianapolis recently paired up with the university’s director of Molecular Anthropology Laboratory to determine if they could pick up traces of touch DNA from someone that had never touched an item (secondary DNA). Subjects from the study were instructed to shake hands for two minutes. Then, one was asked to touch a test knife. The other subject never came into contact with the test knife. In 85 percent of the samples, researchers were able to pick up traces of DNA from individuals who had never come into contact with the test knives. It was transferred during the handshake and was left behind by the handler. The implications of this is startling and disturbing, as innocent people could be charged with crimes based on an erroneous match Changes in How Forensic Evidence Is Viewed Forensic scientists still do not completely understand how DNA transfers from a person to an object. Secondary transfer may not be the same during brief contact, or when touching rough objects, or when dealing with certain materials. However, this new study and the potential for cross-contamination and false positives are bound to change how DNA is used in criminal cases. It may also be quite important for those who have already been convicted based on DNA matches and other types of forensic evidence.  For further reading on the need to improve various types of forensic evidence analyses utilized by law enforcement, see the 2009 study by the National Academy of Sciences, “Strengthening Forensic Science in the United States: A Path Forward.” Facing Criminal Charges? You Need Knowledgeable and Aggressive Legal Help When facing an investigation or criminal charges, you need an attorney that is willing to carefully examine the evidence to prepare a solid defense case. When dealing with forensic evidence like DNA, you need experienced defense counsel, who are knowledgeable both in the law and the science. Our team is comprised of highly-skilled litigators, some of whom have worked on the police force, as criminal prosecutors, justice department investigators and have science backgrounds.  Schedule your consultation with one of our knowledgeable and experienced Milwaukee criminal defense attorneys by calling 414-271-1440 today.

Source:

https//ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/228091.pdf http://fox59.com/2015/11/10/new-study-says-your-dna-can-show-up-at-a-crime-scene-even-if-you-were-never-there/ https://uindy.edu/2015/10/28/study-raises-question-about-dna-evidence http://innocenceproject.org/causes-wrongful-conviction/unvalidated-or-improper-forensic-science

Wisconsin defense attorney, Wisconsin criminal lawyer, violent crimeTraditionally, robbery was defined as using force or intimidation to take property from another. Today, when individuals steal from a bank by force or intimidation, they are guilty of bank robbery. The simple conduct of passing a note to a bank teller demanding money falls under the category of bank robbery even if you did not use a weapon, it is intimidation.

Under Wisconsin law, bank robbery is a serious offense. According to the law, a person who commits bank robbery is one who: “by use of force or threat to use imminent force takes from an individual or in the presence of an individual money or property that is owned by or under the custody or control of a financial institution.” Bank robbery is a Class C felony and carries a possible $100,000 fine, up to 40 years imprisonment, or in some cases both.

Going to Trial Is Often Necessary to Prove Your Innocence

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